A strongly-worded joint statement by the Youth Association for Democracy (YADEMA) and Gender Justice in Malawi has reprimanded the Malawi Police Service for failing to curtail thugs in the Capital City in Lilongwe who on Tuesday scandalized and stripped naked women dressed in trousers to the point of almost raping them.
In the statement signed by Wapona Kita and Habiba Osman, Chairperson and Director of the two organizations, respectively, it is noted that women who were stuck in town, “nothing was done in respect of the Terrorist Group members who were within the purview of the Police”.
The two organizations explain that the act of undressing a woman without her consent, more so in public is a serious offence under Section 137 of the Penal Code and that if one is found guilty, they may serve a jail sentence of up to 14 years hard labour.
“We are shocked that police officers failed to arrest the members of the said group which is their constitutional and statutory duty.
“To that end, we also condemn in the strongest terms possible the Malawi Police Service for their failure to act where we most expected them to. As a matter of grave concern, the recent service we are getting from the Malawi Police Service leaves a lot to be desired,” reads the statement in part.
Kita and Osman say that memories are still fresh of how the police failed to contain recent riots involving Lilongwe vendors over vending places and that the military had to be called to contain the volatile situation.
They also cited another incident that happened in Blantyre where Blantyre City South legislator Moses Kunkuyu was roughed up and no arrests have so far been made. Another one is where the Chief Executive of the Lilongwe City Council, Kelvin M’mangisa was also roughed up at the Kamuzu International Airport in full view of the Police and “later the criminal trespass that took place at his office with no arrests so far having been made”.
The two organizations also cite ugly incidents at the Shoprite Puma Filling Station where the police failed to preserve order as motorists were scrambling for fuel on Sunday “and had to call for the military to do so”.
“As citizens, we now feel more insecure than ever before when we have our police service, which fails to execute their basic duties. If the police only did what they are lawfully entitled to do, which is (a) to prevent crime, (b) apprehend offenders, (c) protect life, property and fundamental freedoms and rights; women should not have been degraded the way it happened.
“We need to do a serious soul-searching of what is happening with our Malawi Police Service for the laxity of failing to act when we expect it to do so and on the other hand for acting when we least expect it to do so,” reads the statement.
The two organizations “strongly” call upon the Malawi Police Service through the Office of the Inspector General to offer a public apology to the nation within the next 24 hours and “in particular to the women who have been subjected to the inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of their disservice”.
“As we wait for the said apology, we reserve our right pursue other constitutional and peaceful means of engaging with the Police to hear our plea which is a call that they guarantee our safety, our lives in public and bring to book all those that endanger the enjoyment of our constitutional rights and freedoms,” concludes the statement.